CHOICE Project: D&D Workshops and
How can we encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? How can STEM subjects be taught in new ways? The CHOICE project takes a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to STEM education by involving students, teachers, and company representatives in the creation of STEM-based Open Educational Resources (OER).
Teachers from Italy, Cyprus, Greece, and Spain together with students jointly developed innovative OERs through a series of Design & Development workshops that took place at participating schools in 2021 as part of the CHOICE project. These resources are based on the STE(A)M approach, which integrates the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with the arts (A for Arts) and other academic disciplines (A for All). This approach, combined with a co-creation methodology involving teachers and students, enables the development of innovative resources aimed at nurturing the interest of future generations in STEM subjects.
The CHOICE resources focus on the following macro-areas:
Arts and STEM disciplines
Language teaching in the study of the STEM disciplines
Using technology in social sciences
Turning sport and physical activity into a STEM learning experience
The Liceo Benedetto Croce in Palermo started co-creation workshops in March 2021. The first co-creation team created a resource that combines Art and Math and is inspired by and named after Vincent van Gogh's famous painting "The Starry Night." This resource employs origami to bring Mathematics to life and to connect it with art and creativity, all while engaging students in active learning by doing. The students used origami forms to recreate some of the elements and shapes of the famous Van Gogh painting, while also deepening their understanding of some complex mathematical and geometrical theorems and principles. The second co-creation team participated in an experiential project centred on physics, chemistry, and their applications in ecology.
The students conducted a series of laboratory experiments in the context of an "Ecological House," allowing them to investigate and comprehend the production of energy from alternative sources (solar and wind energy), energy collection, storage, and savings. The third team worked on the resource "The winning strategies," which focuses on economics, mathematics, and sociology and uses technology in the social sciences. In a team game, the students used game theory and rational choice theory to solve the "prisoner's dilemma," analyse an opponent's tactics, and reason about their own tactics. They used digital tools such as spreadsheets to analyse and evaluate data during the process. Students' active participation in the creation of educational resources was fundamental in ensuring that the resources will be of interest to their peers and aligned with their own background knowledge. The final two resources developed at the Liceo Benedetto Croce in Palermo concentrate on robotics and coding, as well as the role of STEM in sports and leading a healthy lifestyle.
In Spain, co-creation teams were formed with 8-12 members, involving professionals from the engineering and computing field, as well as teachers from other disciplines and students of various ages and interests. The workshops took place during a challenging time due to pandemic, therefore, the co-creation teams joined massive online brainstorming events, during which they decided the topics on which their OERs would focus. Subsequently, the design and development workshops took place over a period of six weeks in a face-to-face format, during which teachers and students co-created informative and entertaining educational material. A total of 30 students and 15 teachers were involved. One of the most significant achievements of the Spanish partners, was that the teachers’ training on the use of the developed OERs was recognized and certified by the Catalan Educational Administration (Departament d'Educació de la Generalitat de Catalunya). As a result, the Catalan Educational Administration distributed the training to Secondary School teachers and provided training participants with a certification.
In Greece the final workshop for the design and development of educational resources took place on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, and was attended by academics and labour market representatives, effectively supporting teachers and students. During this final workshop, members of the co-creation teams, involving both students and teachers, presented skills and knowledge gained through the workshops implemented as part of the CHOICE project, during which they developed OERs on the use of radioisotopes in medicine, reuse of waste material in sports, the identification of the Golden Ratio in works of art and the natural world, the creation of an educational game related to the pandemic, and the creation of a mobile video game through which students become aware of the crucial issue of achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In Cyprus, co-creation teams were formed involving 3 teachers and 12-15 students aged 13 to 15 years old. The developed OERs focus on understanding biological structures through the creation of 3D models, understanding how a disease may become a pandemic through the combination of research on pandemics and robotics, learning about a biological phenomenon, such as bioluminescence through writing and presenting a report on a foreign language, becoming aware of issues related to internet safety through a creative form of digital storytelling and finally learning how to design cycling routes through the use of digital tools.
All of these 20 OERs developed were then combined to create the CHOICE MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), which is freely accessible by teachers and students who are interested in delivering and following the OERs, respectively, through the CHOICE MOOC platform: https://mooc.euchoice.eu/home